Reanimation and MoMA

| February 9, 2012

The Reanimation Library collects old, out of print, and out-of-circulation books specifically for the use of artists and writers looking for odd or quirky materials to assimilate into their art.  This is, perhaps, the coolest mission statement for a library I can think of (and a great place for de-accessioned library books to die). Usually this library lives in Brooklyn, but right now through March 9th, MoMA is holding the Reanimation Library’s collection on exhibit.  MoMA has integrated the Reanimation collection into their hands-on Print Studio workshop, set up with ipads, scanners, and printers, so that anyone can scan images from the pages of the books in the collection, make a collage, print it, and hang it on MoMA’s wall.  Whoa!

The day I visited, the artist Jorge Colombo, an illustrator for the New Yorker among other things, was there helping visitors “paint” images using an app on an ipad. A friendly MoMA employee approached me with an ipad and asked if I wanted to join the workshop. I declined because, sadly, I’m just as bad at painting with my finger as I am with a real brush.  But if you have painting skills or perhaps just less inhibition than I do, a variety of artists are conducting workshops in the upcoming month using Reanimation’s collection.  Check out this link for more info.

Here’s a quote you can probably agree with, hanging on the wall in the Print Studio at MoMA:

“It’s simple, you just take something and do something to it, and then do something else to it. Keep doing this, and pretty soon you’ve got something.” –Jasper Johns

An example of the collages produced by visitors using images from the books:

The exhibit was so fantastic and exciting I couldn’t help but think about opportunities for education. How can educators make the most of library collections, especially art or multimedia collections, and incorporate them into learning environments?  How can libraries like ours use technology to make our collection even more accessible, more hybrid?